Nannie Bittinger's Reviews > The Light Between Oceans

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Oct 25, 2012

did not like it
Read in October, 2012

I've only got 2 cd's left and am so disappointed with this audio version that I'm posting a 1 star rating now. The story is excellent and I'd give it at least a 4 if not a 5 but I'm missing so much because the reader is SO difficult to understand. When he reads dialog it's not so bad but when he's just reading the narrative, I'd say I am able to understand half or less of it. The Australian accent is perhaps part of the problem but I listen to books recorded by people with British accents all the time and have no problem so I really think it is this particular reader. In case it was my hearing problem, I asked my husband to listen and he too had difficulty understanding the reader. Just putting this up as a warning to anyone else interested in the audio version.
28 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The Light Between Oceans.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

02/27 marked as: read

Comments <span class="smallText"> (showing 1-39 of 39) </span> <span class="smallText">(39 new)</span>

dateDown arrow    newest »

Lisa Who is the narrator?

Nannie Bittinger Australian actor, Noah Taylor. And I hate being so negative but I really wondered...didn't anyone other than maybe some Australians listen to the finished product?

Alice It might be better to review the content--with a footnote about the recording--or manually add the audio version to your list.

message 4: by Liz (new) - added it

Liz This is not about the book itself.

Nannie Bittinger That's true, Liz, but I tried to give a rating on one of the printed versions for the content and couldn't make my computer or the website cooperate. The book/story is WONDERFUL but I really wanted to steer people away from the audio version. I don't always read all the reviews and base my choices on the star ratings alone, if I'm in a hurry. Maybe I'll try again to rate a printed copy separately.

Nannie Bittinger Finally got two editions to allow me to review and rate. Hope that makes it a little clearer.

message 7: by Pat (new)

Pat I agree with you in regard to the audio book. Got part way through the 2nd cd and quit.
I will take the above advise and try the written word if I can get it in large print.

Carla I loved the narration and thought it addedightily to the

Carla Added mightily to the book's feel.

Nannie Bittinger If you could understand it, I'm sure it did :)

message 11: by Lina (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lina At times the reader's accent was hard to understand and I had to go back and listen to those sections again. It also helped to increase the volume when listening to a part the second time as I noticed that often when I had trouble understanding the narrator the sound of his voice had softened.

Rachel I didn't have trouble understanding the narrator- maybe a bit on the first disk, but I adjusted. We're just not as used to Australian accents as British. It was totally appropriate to have an Australian narrate this story that takes place in Australia and has only Australian characters.

Nannie Bittinger I'm not sure it was the accent as much as it was the monotone delivery...maybe you got one with a different reader? Whatever, glad you enjoyed it more than I did.

message 14: by Beach (new)

Beach Reader I, too, had a very difficult time understanding the narrator. It wasn't his accent, it was the way he mumbled at the end of every sentence, especially when describing how Tom felt. He pronounced "s" like "sch" and I struggled to decifer the words, much less apply meaning to them. Gave up at the start of the 2nd cd.

message 15: by Susanne (new)

Susanne I agree about the narration. I didn't have a problem with his accent, it was his breath control and lack of enunciation. I had to return it because I couldn't understand him. If only he'd speak up and pronounce his words, all would have been well.

Bonnie I am enjoying the CDs and the Australian accent. No trouble understanding it to me and it sounds like "tom" in my head.

Cheryl Pease I so agree! I listened to the audio version as well and had so much trouble understanding the reader! He mumbles, and when I would turn it up because he was talking so softly, all at once, he'd talk really loud! I'm guessing that has something to do with the sound editing of the book, but it's terrible. I think my trouble in listening to the book definitely affected my rating, but I also wasn't crazy about the story or the characters. It was just okay.

message 18: by Beth (new) - rated it 3 stars

Beth Used the audio version to help me get to sleep at night.

Sandi I persevered to the end of the audio reading but it was not always easy. I agree with the above, that turning up the volume at times seemed to help.

message 20: by Sarah (new) - added it

Sarah I had the same problem and had to switch to the actual book because I couldn't understand the reader!

Sharon I also tried the audio version and you are so right...couldn't bear it...hoping you gave this one a second look see because the book version was absolutely wonderful!

Lablover I thought his reading was horrible also. He sounded like he was bored. He mumbled a great deal. Some of the sentences he started out loud and then trailed off. He was really terrible.

message 23: by Gina (new) - rated it 3 stars

Gina I also found the reader difficult to understand. Nothing to do with accent, I can only describe it as a speech impediment.

message 24: by Tina (new) - rated it 3 stars

Tina Count me in as another person who abandoned the audio version when I could not follow the narrator.

Nancy I gave up on the audio after an hour, then read the book starting from the beginning. It was an excellent book and I am so glad I read it.

message 26: by Pat (new)

Pat M

Michelle Green Agree! The audio is horrible...mumbled phrases, constantly turning volume up and down. But since I drive do much, it's the only way and I love the story and want to know what happens, so I'll finish it out.

Melody I had trouble understanding the narrator at the beginning also, but I got used to his manner of speaking and as others have mentioned, I turned the volume up. Even though at the beginning I didn't like him, I loved his narration by the end. His voice was soft and sweet.

message 29: by Taylor (new)

Taylor I'm currently listening to the audio version and I have to agree! The narrator is so hard to understand and I feel like he mumbles a lot of the time. I'm glad I'm not the only one. Thanks!

Joyce McClure I stopped listening after the first CD. I've never heard a worse narrator. The book is a good read, so it's a shame the audio version is so difficult to understand.

Cherri I am so glad it is not just me!!! I can't understand half of what he says, he mumbles and his voice drops at the end of sentences. Ug.

message 32: by Donna (new)

Donna Davidson I am currently listening to this on audio and I agree he is so difficult to understand! It's not just the Australian accent it sounds like he is mumbling half the time and so monotone. I just finished listening to Big Little Lies which also is narrated with Australian accents and I had no trouble at all listening or understanding it. I hope I can make it all the way through! I have to keep rewinding ugh!

message 33: by Toby (new) - added it

Toby Farman I am glad to have read these comments, sorry I didn't get to them sooner . The story was good not great but the reader swallowed half his words. I generally read and listen so I don't miss much but this reader was very disappointing . I'd have to recommend only reading this story.

message 34: by Carole (new)

Carole S I agree about the reader. It's a shame such a good book was ruined by his monotone performance. I had just listened to the Book Thief, which was read by Allan, was he wonderful! His accent was perfect and he held me spellbound. But Noah, not a good reader. I feel bad saying it, since he is an actor, but if I were the author, and my book was read like that, I would be upset! (sorry, Noah)

Jackie Yes, I also agree, I couldn't understand the reader in the audio version of the book! It was as though he mumbled and jumbled words together!

message 36: by John (new) - rated it 5 stars

John Threadgill Sorry ... can't agree. Noah Taylor ( is famous Australian actor. I felt like it was Tom I was listening to. So pleased he had an Australian accent and not a mid-west American one. Felt far more authentic.

Nannie Bittinger It truly was NOT his was his delivery and enunciation. I love an authentic accent too and, certainly a Midwestern accent would have inappropriate. Maybe they have released an improved edition. At any rate I'm glad there are some who are able to enjoy it. :)

Michael Niccum The copy i am listening to has a female reader and is easy to understand. I have stopped listening to books because i could not understand the reader.

Tracy I agree the narrator was a bit hard to understand. He spoke very rapidly. But I use Kindle with Audible and follow along with the written word while listening to the narrator. Beside, I got used to the narrator not too long into the book. Even read the last 5 chapters without the narrator and found myself speaking with his accent. Loved, LOVED, L O V E D the Aussie accent. Also LOVED this book. Heart wrenching and glorious!

back to top